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  • #16
    I think White Wolf has handled real-world political issues with laudable nuance, tactfulness, and sensitivity in the past. See: Charnel Houses of Europe.

    I just wish we'd gotten Charnel Houses instead of still-living public figures declared to actually be thin-bloods.

    Hopefully they've learned their lesson after that.


    Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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    • #17
      There is some COD stuff there, like talking about the Mummy books.

      I just wish we'd gotten Charnel Houses instead of still-living public figures declared to actually be thin-bloods.
      Said real life figure threw an enormous fit over it and demanded that the writer be arrested as well as ran a week of news articles about the chapter. I got interviewed in a European paper about it.

      But honestly, I'm much less interested in the Chechnya element than Chicago by Night's handling of social injustice, LGBT issues, and activism.
      Last edited by CTPhipps; 02-02-2020, 07:05 PM.


      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
        That's the $64,000 question isn't it. Me, I chunked that slider as far right as I could and would have taken it further given the opportunity. They really missed the bag not including an entry for respondents who wish to elaborate upon that answer.

        My complaint isn't about the mere existence of sociopolitical themes or commentary in fiction, but rather the quality of presentation. It's been my observation and firm belief that over the past decade presentation of sociopolitical themes and commentary have become...well, let's say I like to compare them to medieval morality play. And worse, any time those works are criticized on practically any basis, the go-to response has been to defame critics on politically-partisan basis on context or content, effectively hiding behind the politics to avoid any sense of accountability or apparently introspection. As such, genre fiction has entered a cynical, anti-intellectual, and frankly offensive race to the bottom of for-profit controversy and normalized hackery.

        The bottom line for me is, if creators are unwilling or incapable of presenting sociopolitical commentary in a constructive, thought-provoking, and meaningfully challenging way, it's better to not do it at all. The alternative is polarizing, bullish, thought-terminating and needlessly-polarizing, performative and superficial nonsense, and of all things that's what I will not tolerate nor patronize.
        I went over slightly to the right, I don't think biological men belong in women's sports or showers and vice versa, but the rest I'm very liberal live and let live. I did move it all the way over to no politics in the products since they do it so badly.

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        • #19
          I could do without the socio-political lecturing in the games. Like, I get politics are going to be in it in some fashion, but there are LEVELS to it. There are levels to everything, really.


          The Final Frontier

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          • #20
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            There is some COD stuff there, like talking about the Mummy books.



            Said real life figure threw an enormous fit over it and demanded that the writer be arrested as well as ran a week of news articles about the chapter. I got interviewed in a European paper about it.

            But honestly, I'm much less interested in the Chechnya element than Chicago by Night's handling of social injustice, LGBT issues, and activism.
            I have not read Chicago by Night 5th edition but why are those things being addressed? I don't understand why in a game where you play a Vampire, who probably kills tortures steals etc... in a game where it focuses on the fact that you are a monster with a beast living inside you pushing you to do evil, Why does it make sense to fill it up social injustice LGBT issues and activism? Why were people offended by a creature of the night possibly being a neo Nazi? Someone turned you into a blood sucking creature of the night who despite not aging anymore probably has a shorter life expectancy. Don't you have other things to focus on like staying undead, getting in good with the powerful vampires who run things and gathering up power and resources for yourself?

            Most people don't watch the news for hours a day, or take twitter seriously. I play games about vampires and vampire politics. I'm not even trying to argue I just don't see how it's relevant for a vampire who no longer has sex to care about if they used to like boys or girls. If your into it in your games add it in but seems like waisted page count to me.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Vamps Like Us View Post

              I have not read Chicago by Night 5th edition but why are those things being addressed? I don't understand why in a game where you play a Vampire, who probably kills tortures steals etc... in a game where it focuses on the fact that you are a monster with a beast living inside you pushing you to do evil, Why does it make sense to fill it up social injustice LGBT issues and activism?
              Because it's Gothic PUNK and a setting based around using vampires as metaphors for wealth inequality, social injustice, and rising up against the geronocracy of oppressive rich forces draining the life blood out of you as well as your fellows. V:TM was created in the counterculture Goth scene of Atlanta and the first book to be pro-gay, pro-women, and multi-racial characters leading to a large shift in the demographics of gamers as a whole.

              Mind you, I'm a great believer that the Anarchs are the central characters of the game.

              Why were people offended by a creature of the night possibly being a neo Nazi? Someone turned you into a blood sucking creature of the night who despite not aging anymore probably has a shorter life expectancy. Don't you have other things to focus on like staying undead, getting in good with the powerful vampires who run things and gathering up power and resources for yourself?

              Most people don't watch the news for hours a day, or take twitter seriously. I play games about vampires and vampire politics. I'm not even trying to argue I just don't see how it's relevant for a vampire who no longer has sex to care about if they used to like boys or girls. If your into it in your games add it in but seems like waisted page count to me.
              The answer is best told anecdotally if you feel like reading a story from RL. Back in Huntington, West Virginia, I was a member of a LARP group that was pretty fun. It had about 35-50 members total and about 15 regular members. It was a remarkably diverse group with two gay, three lesbian, 1 trans, black, white, and several Asian members total. A lot had grown up in very harsh conformist households and that the game was a release for them. Indeed, it had actually helped a few come to terms with their identities as well as embrace a different worldview.

              And then there was Dave.

              Not his real name but Dave believed LARP was an opportunity to try to get laid, harassed the women involved, and had a wonderful habit of being a racist pile of shit. Dave would, for instance, harass the Asian members of our group by saying it was "in-character" for his vampire to think they were Kuei-Jin infiltrators. He wanted to play a Confederate soldier at one point and I believe at times it was because he felt he could do racism in character. He certainly used the stereotypes of other clans like the Ravnos "Gypsies" and Toreador "queers."

              Eventually, there was a group vote and he was cast out of the LARP and he threw a fucking fit. Dave e-mailed us constantly, cussed us out, said we didn't have a sense of humor, that he was only roleplaying, and said it was all PC bullshit that showed we were brainwashed. The term social justice warrior didn't exist then since it was the early late-90s, early 2000s but it was a common sentiment.

              Later, I understand he actually became a Neo-Nazi who ran werewolf games with his buddies. By Neo-Nazi I don't mean this hyperbole, I mean he had a big Swaztica flag and pictures of himself with his tattoos of the iconography (later her switched back to Neo Confederacy and claimed it was just a joke--he kept the iron cross but tattooed over the swaztica). Dave actually tried to make contact with me to join his current game a decade or so later and I noped the fuck out.

              Why does Vampire have to incorporate this stuff? Because a lot of people have Dave stories. Dave should not be welcome at V:TM because V:TM takes place in the World of Darkness and that's where you enjoy being a powerful, terrible creature of darkness.

              Not bring your RL shitbaggery.


              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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              • #22
                CTPhipps

                I would not have taken long to kick out Dave, sounds like a true dick who made a bunch of other people uncomfortable and didn't belong.

                I think however that it is still a waist of page count to go into human politics. I was picked on my freshman year of high-school. I hate bullies. As a player I can see myself striking out against them but I don't think a vampire roleplaying game where you play an undead blood sucker needs anti bully messaging in the text. If a player was messed with for being gay I would think the natural inclination would be for him to stick up for gay rights but I doubt vampires as a whole care. It's a matter of perspective I think.

                I'll share a story from the early 90s I believe 1st edition one of my life long friends was going a bit crazy in the game and putting the masquerade in danger. Another friend was told to put a stop to it. He had the early riser merit, and he staked his sleeping buddy tied a rope to the stake and threw him off a building so the stake would pull out just before he hit the ground to teach him a lesson. My first friend saw red got up started yelling at the gm and player, he's black and all he heard was rope and thrown off a building and thought our friend hung him. He exploded but everyone talked it out and said he misunderstood what had been done. He showed the note he had written and given to the story teller. everyone calmed down we got some Burger King and we are all still friends.

                We didn't need a chapter on racial sensitivity to explain not to get a rope to teach the black guy a lesson in the future misunderstanding or no. You just need human interaction, and if you end up with a Dave who ruins the game for others you bounce him. I feel if a player wants to engage in politics no problem, go for it, as a story teller I'm focused on supernatural power structures not what's on the front page of the daily beast. If all your friends are on the same page making social justice a focus that's great too but I don't think universal.

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                • #23
                  In Hurt Locker for Chronicles of Darkness, there was a section on expanded game mechanics for various Skills. The entry for Intimidation talked about torture and essentially lectured you. It explained the various ways torture is ineffective at obtaining information and said anyone who uses it "doesn't get to be a hero," or something like that.

                  It pissed me off seeing that in a book. The writer (Olivia Hill, who I'm glad has stopped writing for OPP) was essentially using a space meant for game mechanics as her personal soapbox and essay piece. I'm completely against all uses of torture and 100% agreed with everything Olivia was saying, but her stupid essay still gave me jack squat to use in my games. If I want to read an opinion piece about torture, there are way better ones out there written by actual experts. It is arrogant of game designers to assume their opinions have comparable weight by shoving them into gaming products in such a ham-handed way.

                  This is the problem with ultra-woke politics showing up in RPGs in a nutshell. The ultra-woke base who already agrees with ultra-woke writers on everything will still agree with them over everything, and everyone else is going to be either indifferent or annoyed.

                  There's also way better means for writers to get their messages across. Torture is bad at obtaining information? Okay. Give us game mechanics that actually show that. An opinion piece gives me nothing to use in games. But mechanics that result in torture producing false information? I don't think I've seen anything like those before. (Usually interrogating someone is just a dice roll vs. some kind of difficulty, get accurate info if you roll high enough.) It's show vs. tell. Show* your views through your stories and game mechanics instead of just telling them to the audience.

                  * Ham-handed "showing" like declaring still-living political figures to be vampires excluded.

                  I think it's critical for writers to handle the inclusion of sociopolitical issues in gaming books well, because Vampire is very much a sociopolitical game. But writers need to bear in mind why they are including those issues. If it's to spread awareness, RPGs are mostly ineffective. Being aware is easy these days. If it's to sway opinions, RPGs are probably even more ineffective. I've never heard of any bigots who became less bigoted from reading RPG books. Ultimately, you include mechanics that have torture produce false information, represent LGBT characters equally, etc., because you want to be factually accurate and to depict the world as it actually is. That's it. "LBGT people exist and not depicting them is unrealistic" is no different to me than "Mrs. O'Leary's cow didn't start the Great Chicago Fire." There's nothing laudable about getting facts right, though it is wrong to get them wrong. I feel like too many RPG writers believe they are "doing their part" to change the world and would benefit from a more humble attitude.
                  Last edited by False Epiphany; 02-04-2020, 12:14 PM.


                  Blood and Bourbon, my New Orleans-based Vampire chronicle.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                    ...anyone who uses it "doesn't get to be a hero," or something like that.
                    This is really the problem in a nutshell, isn't it. Writers and game designers who view themselves activists first and foremost, who view their job as a form of activism, and are likely deluded enough to believe role-playing is or can be activism in and of itself. That doesn't lend itself well to the subtlety, nuance, depth, or introspection necessary to portray sociopolitical issues, themes, or commentary in a thoughtful or meaningful way.

                    To say the least. Trust me, that's the most generous I can be to the mindset.

                    What made the Anarchs so compelling is they were tragically villainous. They were locked into this binary worldview of right-versus-wrong, good-versus-evil, us-versus-them, ends-justify-means, that they were completely blind to their own hypocrisy and toxicity. They were the embodiment of "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Same with the Brujah, they weren't tragic heroes and gadflies; they were violent, abusive brutes unable to keep their impulses in check, faced with the Sisyphean task of excusing and justifying themselves.

                    Stick people in the driver's seat who unironically view these traits as positives, and either will not or cannot look under the hood or kick the tires (ostensibly, lest it disrupt their closely-held worldview) to see what's really up thematically, and...well, you end up with V5.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                      Mind you, the editing on that was a major source of contention. It was originally two opposed Kindred discussing Chechnya in-universe then redone as one out of character voice.

                      The original were a liberal Brujah and a Assamite conservative.


                      That could have worked..less badly? Not sure.

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                      • #26
                        A good example of the reason why, for me, the future of the World of Darkness brand is in computer games:

                        There's a plurality of people in this thread who I wouldn't feel welcome or physically safe playing with in person, because of my identity.
                        Last edited by Reasor; 02-03-2020, 05:16 PM.

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                        • #27
                          I noped out of that survey very early. It just smelled like it was fishing for information to sell. Like the Facebook quizzes except more upfront and detailed. I guess I am too sensitive on the subject.

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                          • #28
                            Anyone else get asked a lot of questions about cyberpunk 2077 and why they stopped buying ww products?


                            You've been playing around the magic that is black
                            But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back

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                            • #29
                              I felt I wasn't asked the right questions, and somethings were...

                              Like say, the brand of White Wolf or Fallout... I liked both in the past, I like neither now. But here I am, putting the two of them together...
                              And when it said 'do you want politics in your games?' I was thinking
                              Yes
                              But quality control, please, for fuck sake. That's the core issue. Your ideals are irrelevant, it's how you deliver them. If it's bad enough, a shitty pro-gay add will make people anti-gay. It's just how things work.
                              I had an opportunity to slander revised, but not an opportunity to target V5?

                              Why does it matter how long ago I've played something, when how much I've played something... yeah I get it that it's market research but...

                              I love all the clans, most of the tribes.

                              I just feel very frustrated with this survey. I don't feel like I could express my sentiments well. I'm aware of how surveys work, I know they want bolean values rather than text, but I think they put up the wrong checkboxes.


                              V5 is not VTM

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Dwight View Post
                                Anyone else get asked a lot of questions about cyberpunk 2077 and why they stopped buying ww products?
                                No, I think because I'm more familiar with CP2020 than the upcoming game. I do find it interesting that they specifically mentioned 2077 and not 2020, not only does it support my theory that this is more about the computer games than the tabletop games (in which case we'd be more like to hear about Red than 2077), but makes me wonder if this is about them being worried that Bloodlines 2 coming out too close to 2077 is going to hurt them.


                                Blue is sarcasm.

                                If I suggestion I make contradicts in-setting metaphysics please ignore me, I probably brought in scientific ideas.

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